State auction in Concord puts police cars, buses, safes and dozens of file cabinets on the block

  • A road grater from the city of Laconia is unloaded onto the grounds of state-owned White Farm Facility on Thursday, May 10, 2018 for the upcoming state auction.

  • A row of former State Police vehicles at the back lot of the state-owned White Farm Facility on Clinton Street in Concord.

  • Buses that will be up for auction at the White Farm Facility on Clinton Street in Concord.

  • Jason Wright, manager of the state-owned White Farm Facility inside where there are rows and rows of office equipment that will be up for auction on May 19th.

  • Jason Wright, manager of the state-owned White Farm Facility in Concord, out in the back lot where all will go on sale Saturday, May 19, at the first of two auctions this year of surplus material at the White Farm, on Route 13 in west Concord.

Monitor staff
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

If the trolley doesn’t grab your attention, maybe the 60 Dodge Chargers will.

Or the pair of medical research devices that look like a cross between chandeliers and a high school chemistry lab.

Or the file cabinets. Lots and lots of file cabinets.

“I guess people are going paperless,” said Jason Wright, manager of the state-owned White Farm facility in Concord, gesturing at the rows of file cabinets that have ended up in a former cow barn that stores surplus government items awaiting auction.

It will all go on sale Saturday at the first of two auctions this year of surplus material at White Farm, on Route 13 in Concord.

“This is a real family event. People come year after year; generations come,” said James St. Jean, whose auctioning firm has been overseeing these sales for three decades. “I saw kids who were this high” – gesturing near the ground – “now they’re back with their own kids.”

The sale unloads surplus items from the state and municipal governments, who are happy to turn excess items into a little cash.

The money isn’t bad, even if it won’t balance the state budget. Receipts in the past few years have ranged from $106,000 to $228,000 for municipal items, and from $213,000 to as much as $628,000 for state items.

Close to 1,000 people are likely to register Friday and show up Saturday. If the past is any guide, they will include dealers looking to resell what they buy, business owners looking for cheap office furniture or an extra office safe (make sure to double-check whether they have the combination, however, because they don’t always), and bargain hunters of all stripes. After all, where else can you get a good deal on dissolved oxygen monitors?

Vehicles are the big draw. Scores of former police cars and other cars used by state staff will be on the block, as well as buses, trucks, ATVs and one bus that looks like a trolley used by Concord Area Transport. Guns are also popular and are sold separately, although there are only a dozen or so, mostly long guns, Wright said.

Two auctioneers will be working just for the vehicle sales, St. Jean said, while another auctioneer will work inside the storage buildings, handling the wide variety of material.

That’s variety as in an eye-wash station, a gigantic blade sharpener in case your lawn mower is as big as a car, portable fans and portable radios and not-very-portable printers for oversized documents, and cabinets from the state hospital that once held medical gear.

“You could use that in your basement to hold tools,” Wright suggested.

And did we mention file cabinets? Wright said he’ll probably bundle them together so people will have to buy perhaps six at a time, realizing that buyers will probably take the best one or two and toss the rest. Or maybe they won’t get sold at all – which is okay, because there will be another sale in October, and another one next May, and so on. There’s room in the barns for them to wait.

“Something can be a dog one year and could go like hotcakes the next,” he said. “You never know.”

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)